I like to play a game called Find The Nonsensical Food Holiday where I web search for random food holidays.
There’s National Curried Chicken Day (Jan. 12), National Cheese Doodle Day (March 5), National Penuche Day (July 22) and National Welsh Rarebit Day (Sept. 3).
August might be the most epic month for made-up food holidays. August’s “holidays” celebrate Creamsicles, raspberry cream pie, bratwurst, vanilla custard, peach pie, marshmallows and chop suey.
Then there’s the Very Serious And Should Be Celebrated Food Holiday.
Yes, I’m talking National Doughnut Day.
National Doughnut Day is always the first Friday in June, or June 3 this year.
If you’re slightly deranged — or a professional food writer — you’ll visit all of Pierce County’s doughnut bakeries to celebrate.
Here are the results of my whirlwind tour of 14 Pierce County doughnut bakeries and my top pastry pick at each.
Connie’s Donuts and Espresso, 4065 Pacific Ave., Tacoma; 253-474-5059.
Must try: Jelly-filled krispie bars, 87 cents. Connie’s “krispie bars” are unique to the Tacoma bakery. Krispie bars are the most dense, deliciously moist buttermilk bars you’ll ever eat, with the added bonus of a stripe of jelly that runs the length of the doughnut. I like mine with raspberry.
Dockside Donuts, 1112 Puyallup Ave., Tacoma; 253-572-9638, facebook.com/DocksideDonutsTacoma.
Must try: The coconut cream angel bar, $1.50. This is a squishy vanilla-flavored bar, coated in a coconut and glaze, with piped cream inside.
Helen’s Donuts and Ice Cream, 5601 Portland Ave. E., Tacoma; 253-472-6491, on.fb.me/1AGgXW7.
Must try: The bacon-maple bar, $1.95. Smoky, salty chopped bacon was a terrific companion for the fluffy bar doughnut with a well-set maple frosting that crackles when you bite into it.
Le Donut, 1317 S. 11th St., Tacoma; 253-627-5877, facebook.com/ledonuttacoma.
Must try: My former favorite was a French crueller, but Le Donut has stopped making those (I’m officially in pastry mourning). Instead, I offer you a cinnamon pinwheel, $2. The cottony-textured glazed doughnut is threaded with cinnamon swirls.
Legendary Doughnuts, 2602 Sixth Ave., Tacoma; 253-327-1327, legendarydoughnuts.com (also in Lake Tapps).
Must try: The doughsant, $2.69, is this bakery’s spin on the cronut, a cult favorite in pastry circles for its marriage of a doughnut with a croissant. Legendary produces several varieties, but my favorite is the caramel sea salt with a thick zigzag of rich caramel icing, sprinkled with crunchy salt crystals, set atop layers of flaky doughnut. Tip: The bakery is opening a Frederickson store this summer.
Pao’s Donuts and Coffee Shop, 6919 Sixth Ave., Tacoma; 253-565-4692, on.fb.me/1J9jqLo (cash only).
Must try: If your planets align and you’re really lucky, you’ll score a fresh-made warm apple fritter, $1.50. Cinnamon swirls are incorporated throughout the crackly-glazed fritter, which is loaded with diced apples. Even if you don’t luck out and get a warm one, they’re still terrific.
Yummies Donuts and Ice Cream, 8042 Pacific Ave., Tacoma; 253-448-2142, facebook.com/yummiesdonuts.
Must try: A squishy, soft raised-and-glazed doughnut is the way to go here, 80 cents. A close second is a cake doughnut, 80 cents, but I’ve occasionally found a stale one in the display case.
Frank’s Donuts and Muffins, 14117 Pacific Ave. S., Tacoma; 253-535-4699.
Must try: Danish comes with all kinds of fillings, $1.25. I like mine with pastry cream or the apples and cinnamon. It might be a misnomer to call these Danish, because these aren’t the crispy-flaky style of Danish many might expect. Rather, they’re squishy and buttery.
Kolby’s Donut House, 15012 Pacific Ave. S., Tacoma; 253-537-2089 or facebook.com/KolbysDonutHouse.
Must try: The PBJ, $1.50. It looks like an average, square, possibly-filled-with-something doughnut, but one bite in and you’ll be pleased with the doughnut interpretation of your favorite kindergarten sandwich. A generous layer of raspberry jelly glides over sticky peanut butter.
Original House of Donuts, 9638 Gravelly Lake Drive SW, Lakewood; 253-588-2647, thehouseofdonuts.com (also in Tacoma).
Must try: Cream cheese frosting is piled high on the red velvet cake doughnut, $1.20. The base is sturdy and dense, the frosting creamy and rich. If they’re out, be sure to check out the doughnut of the month.
Westernco Donut, 9312 South Tacoma Way, Lakewood; 253-584-0109. Cash only.
Must try: This is one of the bigger filled doughnuts you’ll find, $1.35. My favorite is the blueberry. At most places, you’re lucky to get a quarter-sized plop of jelly inside. Here? If you split the doughnut in half, the jelly oozes out like blueberry lava.
Epic Donuts, 12314 Meridian Ave. E., Puyallup; 253-845-0246, epicdonuts.biz.
Must try: Basically, the Snickers-themed doughnut here is just an elaborate excuse for jamming frosting into your mouth. The Snickers doughnut, $2.40, is piled high with a sugary, waxy frosting, covered in a drizzle of chocolate and chopped peanuts.
Happy Donuts, 305 Second St. NE, Puyallup; 253-840-9398.
Must try: This is one of the busiest doughnut shops I’ve ever visited. If you get one thing, make it the bear claw, $1.40. Filled with cinnamon-laced apples, the light-and-fluffy doughnut is big enough to be eaten in two sittings.
Sunny’s Donuts, 4500 Pacific Hwy E., Fife; 253-922-5209.
Must try: Empa-naughties aren’t really a doughnut, they’re more of a churro-empanada hybrid. Get the one filled with cinnamon apples and coated in cinnamon sugar. The rolled-up tubes, $2, are crispy fried on the outside, moist on the inside. (Note: This bakery needs a good cleaning).